Simple Gifts

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I’ve recently finished an in-house position for a client and wanted to properly send myself off with thoughtful notes for everyone. Inspired by my love for salt and the Office Holiday Bake-off, I figured what better way than contribute to the December … Continue reading

It’s pumpkin season, let’s eat!

Autumn to me, is heaven.

Nothing is as beautiful as the forest turning colors, mimicking wood-burning fires that chase morning frosts away. Nothing as striking as windows framed with snowflake designs, melting into crisp sunny days.

As we all start carving our Halloween pumpkins I realize that first, I want to provide you with some amazing recipes to use those goopy insides for! Make sure to read all the way through, there are of course some surprises at the end to inspire creative carvers.

Let’s start with breakfast and finish with dessert 🙂 Please click for recipes!!

(And send your pictures back!)

Perhaps an afternoon treat?

& use…

Now on to the hearty stuff!

And now for dessert and maybe a cocktail or two 🙂

And don’t forget to be inspired while you carve! And keep the pumpkin spirit alive with a “DIY” pizza party…

Icing on the Cake

I’ve been holding onto this post for awhile, waiting for a birthday or specific celebration prompting the idea of cake, icing, and stands. What I realized on my crisp walk to work today is that every day has it’s ‘icing on the cake’ moments and today I’d like to share some beautiful pieces that speak to that!

The stands I’ve included are beautiful, unique, elegant, and chic. Alone, they are just another piece of a table-setting though, so I’ve also included some beautiful icing ideas. Enjoy!!

Sweet wishes!!

4th of July Family Reunion!!!

Spending the 4th with my boyfriend’s family this year made me appreciative of how this holiday tends to bring America’s families together. So I thought what better time, than the kids’ summer breaks, a holiday where many professionals get off to host a Family Reunion!

Invitations

  • A ‘Save the date’ should be sent out 6 months prior to an event. Since this is a summer, destination party you must consider your guests’ travel arrangements, summer camps, and holiday plans.
  • Green save the dates are especially popular now electronically
  • Formal invitations should be sent 3 months out to remind people and encourage RSVP’s

*** NEW IDEA ***

For this party, a unique idea is to include postage and request that your guests send a red, white, or blue shirt that symbolizes their family. These shirts can be their hometown, favorite family vacation souvenir, sports team, or something new.

You can use these shirts to create your own Independence Day Flag or as a prize for relay races, event competitions. 

Decor

For the kids to play with, and engage your guests, include a range of games. Dominoes are great for those who want to sit. Croquet or Badminton for the lawn. The tent below can add accent and shade for little children and if the property is near a lake or pool remember to always provide towels in a container easily accessible to guests.

Floral

Recently as a houseguest I wanted to bring something more updated than my usual bouquet so I went to the local antique barn and found a lovely pail that I then planted some petunias in for a festive approach. Using some beautiful twine for the finishing touch you can create your own custom floral pieces for well over 70% savings. And they last all summer long!

Table Top

Incorporating colors sometimes reads better than literal interpretations of the flag. Below is a gorgeous charger and plate combination that adds style to this classic country event. 

To facilitate better conversation and sometimes avoid conflict, table assignments can be helpful.

  • Assign by generation so cousins may relate to certain shared memories
  • Make sure that table seatings are age specific for comfort (smaller chairs and benches, plastic cups, and high-chairs for children – extra cushioning and shade for elder guests)

A great idea for helping children with glasses that can become slippery are applying rubber bands to the glass or preparing with drink bands. I have to recommend color coordinating with red and blue of course!

To organize your place cards, use a recovered shutter, painted in whichever color you choose, slipping the names amongst the slits. Place some recovered bud vases and antique forks to hold table numbers and tie the metal pail floral arrangements together.  I have recently become fascinated with old postcards, both written and mailed & printed in the 30’s- 70’s. The world and vacation spots have changed so much that the messages and pictures return a sense of nostalgia to popular sites. At antique stores, these gems are organized by state and range 25 cents to $2.00 a card.

  • Use the postcards you provide as seating assignments, including postage and your mailing address encouraging your guests to write you as they travel through the summer.
  • Use saved postcards your guests may have sent you to signify seating assignments
  • If you don’t want to limit people to specific seats just lay a few on each table tied with leftover twine as gift-bags.

Lighting

I fell in love with these lunch pail inspired votive holders as well to add sparkle to each table. You can also place some individually wrapped bug repellant in them on each table, better for inhalation concerns! Adding some lanterns (powered not candle) and of course mosquito killing lights can add some color too without the fire! 

Another great idea are these origami, DIY, paper lantern christmas lights.  Food & Bar

Anything you choose to serve is great, but some grilling tips!

  • Always keep the grill open until you are sure it is lit
  • Don’t smoke while grilling! Or at all!
  • Don’t use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks
  • Don’t pour accelerant such as lighter fluid or gasoline on the grill

Cocktail

The Old One- Two

Naomi Schimek created a beautiful and tasty punch, perfect for large groups.

Muddle 40 blackberries into 1 cup superfine sugar until well mashed and sugar has dissolved.

Add 1 cup strained fresh-squeezed lemon juice and whisk, strain again and discard seeds.

In a punch bowl, add 1 cup cognac and some ice. Let sit for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with 750mL bottle of brut champagne.

Serves 6

Dessert

Chop some blueberries, strawberry, banana (electrolytes for hot day activities!) and place in these delightful dishes! for cups of fruit and add whipped cream for sweet.  Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, strawberry shortcake, or blueberry muffins can be served in decorative  A FAVORITE vendor who bakes fresh daily the most amazing cheesecake I have EVER been blessed to have (it is that good) is The Great American Cheesecake is Lawrenceville, NJ.

To serve ice cream cones without too much of a mess and line while scooping, pre scoop and serve your favorite flavors (black raspberry Mmmm) in an old milk container!  For a GREAT catering option, based out of Brooklyn, NY and willing to travel are People’s Pops. Their flavors are ingenious and their historic take to popsicles amazing. BIG THUMBS UP HERE!!!

Happy Summer & enjoy the ideas!!!

Marisa

Don’t be the only thing melting!

It’s summer time and that means…

 Popsicle Time

Many of what I include below are event specific as particular colors, tastes and ingredients appeal to different individuals or parties. I advise you to take these notes into consideration when planning your menus!

  • For many guests, bite size portions are best
  • For day parties, choose a refreshing option
  • Pops with alcohol are best for adult-only parties so as to avoid disaster
  • The yoghurt and dark red or chocolate colored pops are great for intimate and romantic gatherings, while the green pops are more flirty and fun
  • Popsicles tend to make a mess, so be sure to shop for napkins as well in a similar color scheme

After scouring my sources, I compiled the best approachable and savory recipes below. Just click on a picture and it will bring you to a sunny seaside state of mind!

For the morning sweet and cool treat, water melon & mint

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Refreshing and rejuvenating! Image

Another beautiful idea that is perfect for adults and children alike. The Kiwi pop!

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As the day goes on, it is a good idea to jump into the more sugary pops. Below are two delicious examples:

What I call the Nemo pop, otherwise known as Nectarine-buttermilk PopsImage

Rhubarb & Raspberry YoghurtImage

Italian Ice Pops

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Hot Cocoa Pops, including: Dark chocolate, Milk chocolate & peanut butter, White chocolate

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And now for the adults!

Corona & LimeImage

Dark & Stormy Red Velvet PopImage

and to spice it up, Mexican Mango ChiliImageImage

I would also recommend using Stoli’s Jalapeño Vodka for your mixer to add extra flavor!Image

In order to make your pops as beautiful and pleasing as the pictures above, think about containers. Any ice cube tray (like below) are great for appetizer sizes. Search for the shape that fits your occasion!

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Some extra tips:

  • Most of the sites suggest covering your pops’ tops with tinfoil to assist freezing
  • Don’t be discouraged if you need a few trial runs, each container you use will need different time and proportions of ingredients. I learned this the hard way while attempting to fill hollowed out, variably sized fruit with jello!
  • Should you also be serving ice cream or gelato, look at how they serve the creamy dessert below. Ingenious! I cannot stand scooping ice cream!

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Enjoy your sweets and please post your pictures here so we can see how it went!

Sweet Wishes